Suspect arrested, charged with felony criminal mischief in NYC terrorist attack on Asian American woman
The New York City Police Department said police had arrested Brandon Elliot, 38, of New York City, who was charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and attempted assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Elliot was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx in 2002, at the age of 19, according to court records online. He was released from prison in 2019 and is severely pardoned.
The attack took place just before Monday afternoon outside a luxury building in Midtown Manhattan. The suspect fired anti-Asian words and attacked the 65-year-old woman, police said.
A security video inside the building captured images of the attack showing a man kicking and stomping on the woman repeatedly. In the video, workers inside the building do not appear to have intervened immediately, although a union representative said they were asking for help.
The woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries but was released on Tuesday. The woman’s daughter, speaking to The New York Times, identified her as Vilma Kari and said her mother had also moved from the Philippines. The Times did not identify the daughter.
Police said the woman was walking to church when she was attacked. The man insulted her and confronted Asia and told her, “You are not from here,” police said.
Elliot was staying at a nearby hotel, which was a homeless shelter, police said. Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted that Elliot was out on parole at the time of his release. It is not immediately clear whether Elliot has a lawyer.
“The good work done by your @NYPDDetectives, to identify and arrest the attacker, within 48 hours – always seeks justice for the victims,” Shea said.
Authorities in New York City and beyond quickly condemned the attack and highlighted how it was another case in the growing stages of anti-hatred and discrimination against Asian people in the wake of COVID-19.
More than 3,795 incidents have been reported on Stop AAPI Hate from March 19, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021, “is only a fraction of the number of actual hate incidents that occur,” said a group of lawyers. The organization tracks incidents of hatred, violence, harassment and discrimination of Native Americans and the Pacific Islands in the United States.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident “disgusting and disgusting” and said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that witnesses did not intervene.
“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you have to help a New Yorker,” de Blasio told a news conference on Tuesday. “If you see someone being attacked, do whatever you can. Make a noise. Call what is happening. Go try and help. Immediately call for help. Call 911. This is something where we should all be part of the solution. We can’t just stand back and watch the horrible thing happen. “
In a statement, the head of the union representing the building workers disputed allegations that the workers were doing nothing and said they were asking for help immediately.
“Our union is working to get more information on the full account and urges the public to refrain from rushing into judgment while the facts are being processed,” said union president Kyle Bragg.
The management company of the building where the incident took place said on Monday it had suspended workers who had not intervened, pending an investigation.
“The Brodsky Organization condemns all forms of discrimination, racism, xenophobia and violence against Asian American communities,” the company said.
The victim “could easily have been my mother,” said Andrew Yang, a candidate for mayor and son of Taiwanese immigrants. Yang also called the invisibility of the spectators’ performance “contrary to what we need here in New York City.”
Andrew Cuomo also rallied, calling the attack “horrific and disgusting.”
Police have sought public assistance in the case and have said they are stepping up surveillance in areas with large Asian populations in the midst of the incidents. In New York City, there have been 33 hate crimes against an Asian victim since Sunday, compared to 11 since last year, the NYPD said.
In Washington on Tuesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a 30-day review to assess the government’s ability to track and prosecute hate crimes.
“The recent rise in hate crime and hate incidents, especially the disturbing situation in reports of violence against members of the Asian American and Pacific Island communities since the epidemic, requires renewed vigor,” Garland said in a statement to the Department of Justice.